Review of Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons. Part I: Unboxing and First Impressions and some Solo Rules

Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons, Ravensburger, 2020 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

I had seen that Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons was available from Amazon for March 2nd.  I went ahead and pre-ordered it, expecting it to arrive this week.  For “some reason” (probably money), it was delayed and Amazon asked me if I wanted to still get it … one month later.  Nope.

I went to Target: I saw that it was available on their website …was it in the store?  Ah rats. I didn’t see it.  Was it up front because it was new?  I looked around and didn’t find it.  I was about to give up when an employee asked me:

“Can I help you?”

“Do you have the new Wonder Woman board game?”  (Employee searches on his phone).

“You mean this one?  It’s in the back … we haven’t put it out yet”

Viola!  He brought it to me … and I went home and immediately played it.

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Wonder Woman from Target!

Unboxing

The box is nice, although something about the box art strikes me as  … off.  I like the art, but the proportions of the ladies (?) seem off a little bit?  Honestly, it’s very minor.

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The game looks good when you open it up:

The board itself has almost a “piece of art” on the back.  That’s pretty cool.  I would have perhaps enjoyed a different map for gameplay, but the art was pretty cool.

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The back of part of the board …
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The entire back of the board! Wow!

There are .. little cubes.   They are fine.

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Little cubes …

The cards aren’t linen-finished and they seem a bit rough, but I really like the art on them.   They are easy to read and easy to understand.

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Hero Cards
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Villain Cards
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Relic Cards (go into Hero deck)

Components

The board looks great.

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Main board: looks great!

There are minis!! The minis are much nicer than I expected!  They look really nice!

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Minis! In a nice plastic insert too!

The bad guys just get standees from the punchboard (hah hah).

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The resource cubes remind me of the cubes in Lords of Waterdeep: the cubes in Lords of Waterdeep are supposed to be Clerics, Fighters, etc.  I always thought that was a very weak corrrelation and kind of cheap.  I have the same problem here: the orange cubes are “Ares troops”, the purple cubes are “corrupted Amazons” and the white cubes are “Warriors”.  Really?   I feel like those are poor choices.  Shouldn’t black cubes be Ares troops?  (All the bad guys cards are black!)  And maybe blood red cubes or grey cubes should  be corrupted Amazons.  It’s fine, it just seemed … athematic/cheap. EDIT: maybe it’s for color-blind people ?  If so, I withdraw my objection to the colors chosen.

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Little cubes …

Solo Game

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Intro game: Playing Solo!

Gah!  No solo game! (Hello?  Saunders’ Law?) The box says “2-5 Players”.  So, I did a standard “trick” for solo play: I played two characters.  This worked pretty well, but there is some subtlety here.  In the game, you aren’t allowed to talk once you’ve seen your face down cards.  You have two cards up you can all see, but everyone also has 3 face down cards.  I think, thematically, you are strategizing, then once you get into the field, you can no longer communicate as much.

For solo play, this can still work:

  1. Strategize with yourself what each character will do “in broad terms”.  I.e., “Wonder Woman (character 1) will go after Ares and Artemis (character 2) will go after Ares troops on the other side of the board.  I plan to use one of my face up cards in action spot 3 because it will double the effect!  Meet up with me on the same space if you can!!”
  2. Turn over the 3 face down cards for character 1 and plan out her turn! Assign 3 of the 5 action cards to the 3 action spaces FACE DOWN.
  3. Move on to the character 2.  Without looking/remembering what you did for character 1, go ahead and plan out character 2.  This can be a little tricky, but try not to remember what cards you played  for character 1 when you plan character 2’s turn.  Assign 3 of the 5 action cards to the 3 action spaces FACE DOWN.
  4. Turn over each player’s action 1 spot simultaneously.  Decide what to do (which action on the card).  You can perform these in any order!  (Player-Selected Turn Order).   Then do the same for the action 2 spot, then the action 3 spot.  Basically, just like a 2-Player game, except you are playing two characters.

I was able to get through a full solo game with these rules.  Honestly, it worked pretty well.   (It felt “sorta” like the solo rules for The Shipwreck Arcana: you have to “forget” what you did as one role when you do the next.)

Rulebook

The rulebook is, in general, fantastic.  It’s easy to read and follow along with.

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Rulebook is quite good

The first pages show all the components.

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Components!

The next pages show how to set-up the game.

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The rulebook teaches the main rules, then shows exceptions.

This rulebook made it very easy to get going very quickly.  This is one of the better rulebooks I’ve read in a while!  My only complaint, I think, is there was no section for FAQs or typical questions; I had a few questions when playing that I am sure others have had too …

“Can I pick up a Relic if I land there?  Do I have to wait to the end of all actions or just one action?  It says at the end of the action, which implies I can pick it up immediately, but I don’t know”

Game Summary

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There’s even player summary cards!

The game flowed pretty quickly: Ares acts and moves, then “does something bad” (adds more troops, the corrupted Amazons move towards the palace, something like that …).

The good guys (pardon me, good gals) then do good stuff.  Generally, each player gets 3 actions, chosen from one of 4 emblems (symbols) on a card that they have chosen to play.

More concretely:

  1. Each character gets 2 face up action cards each.
  2. Players look at their face up cards and “broadly strategize” (honestly, not a pun).  Players talk about what they are going to do and maybe even decide to use one of their face up cards.
  3. Each player then gets 3 face down cards.  No more talking.  Each player now assigns 3 of their 5 cards to their 3 slots. FACE DOWN.
  4. All players now simultaneously show the action card in slot 1.  In Player-Selected Turn Order, the players cooperatively decide who should play what action from their card.  Once they are done, repeat for slot 2 and slot 3.

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The good stuff the characters can do: FIGHT, SUMMON WARRIORS, WISDOM, MOVE.

  • FIGHT (sword): do damage to Ares’ troops (2 swords) or Ares himself (4 swords).
  • SUMMON WARRIORS (star): If you are on a “starred” Location, summon Warriors (white cubes) which you can use to give extra pluses if they are on your Location.
  • WISDOM (book): Turn corrupted Amazons back to good (well, send them back for therapy: they don’t come back on the board)
  • MOVE (footprints): Either move or use 3 move to take out a barricade between Locations.

Once all the Good Gals have gone, your Defense goes down for every Ares’ troop on the board or corrupted Amazon in the Palace (by 2).  If you reach 0 defense, you lose!  If you take Ares down to 0 Hit Points you win!

First Game

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The first game was easy to set-up and get going.

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I played conservatively, and I think it took about 2 hours.  Which is surprising, because the box says 45-60 minutes!   I went through the Hero deck about 2.5 times, and I just barely beat Ares when his last card came out.  Turns out, I didn’t need to beat him then: I could reshuffle his deck and the game keeps going …  I probably could have played another 15 minutes, but I went for the final shot at Ares!

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I had fun, but it felt a little repetitive after a while.  I think it’s because my play style was to always eliminate all threats (Ares’ troops, corrupted Amazons) when possible and do damage to Ares if I could.  Basically, I kept the Bad Guys under tight control, and they were never much of a threat.

I never used the SUMMON WARRIOR action.  Ever.  There’s only a few places on the board where you CAN summon warriors, so first it’s hard to do.  And frankly, warriors seem like a liability.  Why?  Because so many of Ares’ actions are “Corrupt Amazon warriors” (turning them into corrupted Amazons).  So, I spend the resources to summon them, only to have to have turn into something I have to deal with?  No thanks.  It never made sense in my game.   I don’t know if other games will go like this, but I am very concerned that this will be an issue.

Conclusion

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A Winning Game!

So, I like this game.  I had fun.  Some components, like the mins and the board are great, the cards are decent (the art is good, but the card quality is just okay), and the cubes are probably the weakest components.  I am concerned that the game might be repetitive, and that the SUMMON WARRIORS doesn’t ever get used.  Luckily, there’s still 2 more Big Bad Villains to fight (Circe and Cheetah), so the game may take on a whole different dimension.

I plan to play some more solo games and some more multi-player games.  Stay Tuned.

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Review of Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons. Part I: Unboxing and First Impressions and some Solo Rules

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